Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Design!

Ok, everyone....I spent way too long trying to make my blog look pretty.  I think I'm satisfied for now.  I'm not sure why my background looks so light but I guess it's fine.  How do you like the new look?  I even created my own signature!
Hope everyone is having a great weekend so far! 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Finally Friday!

I woke up this morning and had NO voice.  Literally.  I left our bedroom to get some medicine and when my hubby called to ask if I was already leaving, I couldn't answer!  Luckily after some Mucinex and tons of cough drops, my voice seems pretty much back to normal.  Teaching was rough today but luckily I have some understanding kiddos!

I think I've mentioned on here before that I'm doing some after school tutoring with K/1 friends.  It's been tricky for me to find activities that will work for all the kiddos when we only have an hour each week!  I decided to focus on sight words and fluency because it seems like that would be beneficial for all of the students.  I found a great site with free printable sight word "keep" books.  The site also has a ton of other great resources for Kindergarten!  Check it out if you haven't before:

I tutor in our school media center so I have to take all of my materials with me (difficult)!  I made a mini word wall that I can easily transport.  I made the word wall on my computer and had it blown up to poster size at Staples.  It's laminated so I can write on it with dry erase markers or vis-a-vis if I want.  I also decided to create student word "walls" that the students can fill in each week and take with them at the end of our tutoring so they have a word wall at home.  Here are some pictures....

One of my reading groups has been working on noticing patterns within different books.  They were having some difficulty so I decided to have them compare and contrast two books by the same author.  We started out with two similar books so it wouldn't be too frustrating.  Here is our finished product:

I can't remember if I've talked about our Reader Ratings board or not.  Every week, we have a new read aloud and the students get to vote whether or not they would recommend the book to their friends.  I do sets of 4 books and each "set" focuses on one author.  So far, we've read books by David Shannon, Jack Prelutsky, James Marshall, and Mark Teague.  Our next author is Steven Kroll.  We discuss the author's writing style and the author's voice in the books.  The kids love to vote!  I modified this idea from a website created by Mrs. Newingham and Mrs. Gordon.  They have a ton of great ideas for your classroom!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What I Wore some more!

I definitely won't be doing this every Wednesday but I am trying to post more and I didn't know what else to post about today!

So, here is what I'm wearing on Wednesday.  IZ Byer "2-for" top (I used to hate those but this one is super cute!), my favorite Guess black pants, and a pair of Unisa shoes.  For accessories I have a black and silver Nine West bracelet along with some matching earrings.  (I know all of you fashionistas probably hate matching sets but this is one of the only sets I have and I love it!)  I don't like to spend a lot on my clothes but I like to try and look decent!

Today between job #1 and job #2, I re-organized my laundry room.  My laundry room is tiny but I felt like the change I made will help keep me organized.  My hanging drying rack is my best friend.  I pretty much hang everything to dry....don't ask me why, I'm weird!  I don't have a before picture....sorry!

Last, but not lease, here is the dinner I made last night.  I got the recipe from a friend of mine and it turned out pretty tasty.  (Sorry it's an awful cell phone picture like the rest in this post!)  Spinach Manicotti:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teachers must be FLEXIBLE!

I don't know how many times I've heard that teachers have to be flexible (and patient)!  Today was one of those crazy days where everyone at school had to be flexible.  I got there early to go to a meeting for a family literacy night that I'm helping to plan.  (The literacy night is this Thursday, hope all goes well!)  Anyway, during my meeting, our principal came over the announcements and asked that we read our email about the bathrooms ASAP.  Apparently a water line broke on our property right outside of school.  (Usually this means the school would have to close, not at our school though, haha!)  This meant we were unable to use any bathrooms or drinking fountains - no water at all.  UGH!  As soon as you find out you can't use something, you want to use it.  So, of course, me and a few others felt a sudden urge......grrr!  We had to troop the kids next door to the library or down to a grocery store......disastrous!  Luckily, everyone was flexible. ;)  My principal even had a man walking the halls with a cart of cold bottled water for staff and students!

Oh, my review/evaluation was scheduled for today but got postponed because of the water issue - more flexibility!  I was feeling really ready for the evaluation but I guess I'll feel even more prepared next time!  (Maybe?)

One more thing.........I'm so glad tomorrow is Wednesday......let's get over that hump! :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Picture Post!

I have been crazy obsessed with blog stalking lately!  With my 3-day weekend (thank you, snow day), I had tons of time to stalk, stalk, stalk!  I love stalking craft blogs but I especially love stalking teacher blogs!  What are some of your favorite blogs to stalk?  :)

Craft update!  I got an easel for Christmas (picture in previous post) and it was shipped to my house in a large box.  The box had tons of packaging materials that I saved because I figured they would be good for something.  
I rummaged through my closet and craft boxes and found some fabric that I had used a while back to cover a bulletin board for my office.  I used this material to cover two of the corrugated (?) cardboard pieces and made a picture "frame" and a note holder to match my bulletin board.  I love how it all looks together and it was FREE!  I covered the clothespins on the note holder with some scrapbook paper and mod podge so they weren't so ugly.  I know I'm not a pro-crafter like some of you but I have fun with it anyway. What do you think? 

 Now, onto school stuff!  A while ago, I gave one of my bulletin boards a quick face lift.  I need ideas for how to fill this board.  I only have 3 bulletin boards in my room and I use one as an interactive board for reading activities and one for learning targets.  Any ideas for this's behind my desk so it's not easily accessible!
Lately, my students talk about monster this, monster that.  So I decided to make them some monster bookmarks - they love them!
After school tutoring started a few weeks ago.  I work on literacy skills with a K/1 group of about 16 kiddos.  It's fun, but a little large for "tutoring"....more like a small class!  Either way, I'm trying to think of fun activities for these kids who struggle.  We're focusing on sight words and initial sounds in words.  Any ideas out there for me?  Here is a picture of their name tags they wear.  I initially wrote the names in vis-a-vis thinking I could re-use these tags next year....silly me!  Within 5 minutes of my first meeting, the kids had black and blue marker all over their lips and hands, LOL!  I re-wrote them this past weekend with my trusted sharpies. :)
Finally, the reason why I love my job and continue to say it has got to be one of the most rewarding careers.  I had to talk to another teacher one day and asked my kiddos to wait patiently.  I came back into the room to find this along with 3 smiling faces:
 (Yes, the one on the bottom right called me "Mrs. Manzone", haha.....she said she was rushed.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Number Talks...

Even though I'm a reading teacher, I still enjoy teaching/learning/talking about other subjects.  This year, my district is totally into math everything!  The trendy thing right now is "number talks".  Basically motivating the kiddos to talk about their math.....discuss problems and solutions, justify their answers, etc.  I love this and when I was reading one of my favorite blogs, The First Grade Parade, her post reminded me of number talks!  I'm definitely sharing this with my kids when we have an extra minute! 

There are 4 dates this year that all share the same numbers…
Well, did you know that if you take the last two digits of your birth year & add them to the age you’re turning this year, you’ll get 111?!?!  Is that numerical magic or what?!  Try it for yourself and see!!! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

My addictions.....

These are a few of my favorite things.....!  Obviously I'd be wrong not to mention my wonderful hubby or adorable doggies, here are a few pictures of the man and fur-babies I can't live without.
There are also some material things that I am currently obsessed with.  I'm not saying I'm super materialistic but these items really help me to get through my days - especially at school!  So here are 10 things that I couldn't live without (at this time....haha)!


1. Coffee.  Starbucks is the best but I often get Tim Hortons in an attempt to save some $.  I only buy these things 1-3 times each week.  On those other days, I use creamer at home or work.  Yum!
 2. Google.  I. Google. Everything.  Literally!  I have a natural curiosity that I can't ignore.  If I'm curious, I will google.  On my phone, on my desktop, on my laptop - anywhere I can google!  I <3 Google.  And yes, Google is a noun and verb in my life.

 3. Chapstick.  I can't live without this stuff, especially in the winter.  I have one in my purse, one on my nightstand, one at my vanity, one in my desk drawer.....the list goes on!  For some reason, I'm always worried I'll lose one and I just can't handle that.  Nivea is my favorite but I occasionally use Burt's Bees as well.

 4. Target.  I have a total Target addiction.  If I don't go there at least once each week, I don't feel fulfilled!  I can't go to Target without checking the dollar spot.  I love how Target has everything!  There is a Target less than 5 minutes from my house AND it has a Starbucks in the store.  Heaven.
5. My Sedu flat iron.  I could probably live without this but I wouldn't choose to!  I love that I can wake up with total bed head after showing in the evening and then smooth out all the messies!  My new curling iron is fun too but I can definitely live without it since I wear my hair straight most days.

6. Clorox Wipes. At home, I just use a spray bottle (usually Clorox GreenWorks natural, all purpose cleaner).  At school, I love these Clorox wipes!  I prefer lemon scented, so fresh!  The kids love to use these as well and they're so handy!

7. Candles.  I love burning candles!  Sitting in a candlelit room is so relaxing and Bath & Body Works has some amazing scents!  I love the Slatkin & Co. candles at Bath & Body Works.  I usually try to get the 2 for $20 deal and stock up on some good scents.  Right now, I have quite a few in my cabinet so I'm trying to avoid Bath & Body for a while. :)
8. Anti-Stress Lotion.  I love any Johnson's product for the affordability and quality.  I have sensitive skin and Johnson's is great for that!  My favorite lotion lately is their 'Melt Away Stress' body lotion.  I buy a trial size in the travel aisle of Target for $1 and just use it as hand lotion.  The scent isn't overwhelming at all but it really is relaxing!
9. Containers.  I'm not sure why, but I love to put everything into containers.  At home, I don't have as many containers but I do have a lot of drawer organizers.  My husband makes fun of me for putting organizers in our "junk" drawers.  At school, it's another story.  EVERYTHING has it's place and most of the time, that place is a container!  I've found some great deals on Sterilite drawer cards and file boxes at Big Lots.  Target has a lot of book boxes and other school-related containers.  Having everything "contained" just makes me feel better.  I know, I'm weird.
10. School Supplies.  I've always loved buying school supplies.  Aren't new pens so exciting?!  I got a few gift cards to a teacher store near by and I can't wait to go use them!  I get overly excited about stuff for my classroom or crafting stuff for home.  I'm a nerd.  For Christmas, my amazing hubby bought me an easel!  I can't really use it in my small reading room this year but *hopefully* I can use it in my own classroom next year.....with my first graders(?!)......fingers crossed. :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Worst Blogger Ever!

Yep, that's me!  I have been really busy with working both jobs and trying to start after school tutoring.  I know I shouldn't make excuses...they're boring to read about.

SO.....I kind of forgot that I was going to review movies on this site, haha!  Since I haven't uploaded any pictures from my camera lately, here are a few movies we watched recently!

 A while ago, the hubby and I went to see a movie.  It was sold out so we decided to see 'The Other Guys'.  Even though this wasn't the movie we had planned to see, I'm so glad we did!  It was really entertaining and who doesn't love Will Ferrell?  Ferrell played somewhat of a nerdy character in this and Mark Wahlberg was constantly annoyed with him.  The movie had a good balance of action and comedy.  IMDB gives this a rating of 6.7/10.  I suggest adding this to your Netflix queue!

'Book of Eli'.  I honestly don't know who added this to our Netflix queue.  It isn't something I would ever choose and the hubby denies adding it?!  Either way, I figured a Denzel Washington flick couldn't be too bad!  One good sign is that I stayed awake through the entire film, haha!  The movie had great special effects and pretty good acting (except for the guy who played Carnegie...not a fan of him at all!).  However, the plot was very boring and unfulfilling (is that a word?!).  The whole idea of a post-apocalyptic society kind of creeps me out.  IMDB gives this movie a 6.9 out of 10.  You decide if you're curious enough to rent it.....I wouldn't recommend it though! 

Last, but not least, 'She's Out of My League'.  During the first few minutes of this movie, I told my hubby, "This looks like it isn't going to be so great."  In the end, though, I ended up enjoying this movie!  'She's Out of My League' is a romantic comedy with one great actor (Jay Baruchel) and a bunch of semi-decent actors (no offense to all of those famous actors reading my blog!).  Jay Baruchel does a great job playing the nerdy main character, Kirk.  The whole movie is easily explained by the title.  Kirk (Baruchel) meets a girl who he thinks is out of his league.  Their dating experience provides a lot of laughs and (of course), there is a happy ending.  This was a feel good movie that I could easily convince my hubby to "at least try it out".  Of course he obliged since the supporting role is a good looking female! 

I hope to post school-related stuff soon!  I am doing a new mini-unit on genres after finding out that my 3rd grade reading students have showed me they need some reviewing!

p.s. Reading other teacher blogs this last week, I was sad to see so many schools got a snow day (or two) and I didn't get one!  Boo!  Maybe I'll get lucky someday soon.  Although I'm not so sure I want anymore snow.....

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome to 2011!

I know I've been super lazy about posting lately....sorry!  I have no good excuse!  I also have no pictures for this post.  :(

I'm on a laptop and all of my pictures are on my desktop or my camera.  Am I the only person that still uses a desktop?!  It's a good computer and not that old so I feel guilty getting rid of it!  And for some reason I feel like my documents, photots, etc. are more secure on a desktop than a laptop.  I know, I'm weird!

So a new year has started.  2010 was a great year.  As I sit here and try to remember everything that happened, I realize how horrible of a memory I really have!  Here are a few highlights:
  • Nick and I celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary in May <3 (time flies!)
  • We spent our 5th (!) year in our home together
  • Chip and Dixie turned 5 in May!  (I told Nick it was time for kindergarten, he said they should be home schooled....)
  • I started grad school and obtained another certification.
  • Nick and I were able to make our annual trips to Florida, South Carolina and Michigan.
  • I got a JOB!  Even though my job is part-time, my foot is IN the door!  That's the most important thing and I'm hoping for a FT position for the 11/12 school year! 
  • We celebrated our 9th Christmas together - whoa!  
  • I turned 25 - a quarter of a century.  (No worries though, Nick will always be older!)
  • My mom and her boyfriend (feels weird to call him that!) moved into a new house that they love very much and have already made it into a home!
  • My LITTLE sister started her junior year of college!
  • I was in the maid of honor for one of my best friends.
  • Another one of my best friends got engaged AND built a house with her hubby to be.
  • Another one of my best friends (I'm lucky to have so many) found out she is EXPECTING!
It's hard to think of anything else right now but I'm a little distracted watching HGTV's tour of the 2011 Dream Home!

Hope 2011 is the best year yet.....I have a good feeling about it :)